Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

Venecia, 1727-1804

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (August 30, 1727 – March 3, 1804) was a Venetian painter and printmaker in etching. He was the son of artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and elder brother of Lorenzo Baldissera Tiepolo.

Domenico was born in Venice, studied under his father, and by the age of 13 was the chief assistant to him. He was one of the many assistants, including Lorenzo, that transferred the designs of his father (executed in the ‘oil sketch’ invented by the same). By the age of 20, he was producing his own work for commissioners.

He assisted his father in Würzburg 1751-3, decorating the famous stairwell fresco, in Vicenza at the Villa Valmarana in 1757, and in Madrid at the palace of Charles III from 1762-70.

His painting style developed after the death of his father in 1770, at which time he returned to Venice, and worked here as well as in Genoa and Padua. His painting, though keeping the decorative influence of his father, moved from its spacial fancy and began to take a more realistic depiction. His portraits and scenes of life in Venice are characterised by movement, colour, and deliberate composition.

After a lapse of 15 years, his work developed from the religious and mythological subjects of his father, to a more secular style. He produced 104 sketches of Punchinello, the standard character of the commedia dell’arte (which would later become Punch in Punch and Judy), a physically deformed clown. These were created as ‘Entertainments for the Children’, and attempted to poke fun at the pretensions and behaviour of the viewer. The same protagonist featured in frescos in his family villa in Venice.

Many of Domenico’s works are drawings with ink wash, and he is a fine draftsman, although weaker than his father. His St. Ambrose Addressing the Young St. Augustine sketch is typical of the commissions he would receive. St. Ambrose, with the crozier and mitre, addresses and gives religious instruction to the beardless Saint Augustine. The composition has the pomp and grandiosity of his father’s work, set out as if part of a theatrical display. He, however, takes 18th century Venice as the setting for this 4th century act, drawing on his experience of the city and his many works depicting life in it.

Domenico was also a significant printmaker in etching, often reproducing his own or his father’s paintings. However he produced an original series of twenty illustrations of the Flight into Egypt, and one of the fourteen Stations of the Cross.

The Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia), the Blanton Museum of Art (University of Texas, Austin), the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Finnish National Gallery, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Indiana University Art Museum, Kunst Indeks Danmark, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Madrid), Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (Barcelona), the National Gallery, London, the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (Milan), Pinacoteca di Brera (Milan), the Portland.

Art Museum, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Seattle Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wadsworth Atheneum are among the public collections holding paintings by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo.

Here you can see the artist's works that are part of the collection.